Herb Stern – The Eternal Incliner at 101!

Herb: The Eternal Incliner – Wisdom

“Herb was born in Germany in 1919. As the Nazi party gained power in the 1930s, Herb’s family was persecuted. They managed to obtain a visa for him, and he was sent to live with a cousin in the United States. Herb completed his university undergraduate degree and became a naturalized US citizen. He enlisted in the US Army and served three and one-half years in combat in Europe during World War II.

At a recent dinner with the co-president of our retirement community, one resident called me “An Old Historical Guy.” We all got a good laugh about it. But then I could look back to an almost 100-year life so filled with sadness, filled with depression, and yes mourning, fears, and feelings of inadequacies. However, also a life of accomplishments, joyfulness, pride, and satisfaction.

As I near the 100-year marker, I am daily aware of the loss of independence. As in my earlier life, I have adjusted to it. Physically, I feel the difficulties, occasionally pain in getting around, having caregivers entering my daily life routine. Yet I have a need to stay active, creative, whether it’s financial work, staying in touch with friends, all younger generations than my own. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, watching news programs on TV, being part of a writing group, public speaking, taking weekly yoga and fitness classes.

What gives me more satisfaction in this long life is being the patriarch of a large, accomplished, and devoted family. Although we are scattered geographically, we stay in close touch and we celebrate our togetherness pretty regularly. Last but by no means least, I have been married almost seventy-three years, yes, to the same woman. Cathy has shared my life throughout this long and exciting journey.

I have no regrets. If anything, I often marvel at all the events I was a part of. Staying alive during three and one-half years of combat, being reviewed by Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. Being introduced to General de Gaulle. Being part of the great crusade – D-Day June 6, 1944. Being awarded the Legion of Honor by the French government. These are but a few that have come to mind in a long, eventful life. I guess I am “A Historical Guy” with lots of luck on my side. Oh, and I can say with much pride I am a member of the Greatest Generation. And when taps is blown on Memorial Day, I weep for all the comrades I have lost on this journey – all those who were a part of my life.

For Herb, many years filled with sadness, depression, mourning and fears are far outweighed by a life of accomplishments, joyfulness, pride, and satisfaction.”

Engagement of Herb and Cathy Stern, 1946. Now married 74 years!

Excerpt of interview with Herb above taken from “Inclined Elders” by Ramona Oliver/ www.ramonavmoliver.com/


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